Young Dr. Kildare
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|Young Dr. Kildare|
|Directed by||Harold S. Bucquet|
|Produced by||Lou L. Ostrow (uncredited)|
|Written by||Max Brand (story)
|Music by||David Snell|
|Cinematography||John F. Seitz|
|Edited by||Elmo Veron|
Young Dr. Kildare is a 1938 film starring Lew Ayres as an idealistic, freshly graduated medical doctor, who benefits greatly from the wise counsel of his mentor, Dr. Gillespie. This was the second of a total of ten Dr. Kildare pictures, but the first starring Ayres (the character being portrayed by Joel McCrea in Internes Can't Take Money), and the first appearance of Gillespie. The series eventually continued with pictures centering around Gillespie once Kildare had been phased out.
These movies were the basis for a 1960s television series (called simply Dr. Kildare), which starred Richard Chamberlain as Kildare. Supposedly Ayres had been offered a chance to star in a Kildare television series years before when the medium was quite new, but refused to do so if the program was going to be allowed to have tobacco company sponsorship, then a primary source of television companies' revenues, and this project was never made as a consequence of Ayres' stance. Lionel Barrymore starred as Dr. Gillespie in the movie, while Raymond Massey played him in the TV version.
After graduating from medical school, Dr. James Kildare returns to his small home town, where his proud parents, Stephen (Samuel S. Hinds) and Martha Kildare (Emma Dunn), and now-adult friend Alice Raymond (Lynne Carver) expect him to join his father in his medical practice. However, he is more ambitious, though he is unsure what he wants to do. He has accepted a job as an intern at a large New York City hospital.
He and the other new interns are being greeted by the hospital's administrator, Dr. Carew (Walter Kingsford), when the famous wheelchair-bound diagnostician Dr. Leonard Gillespie bursts in and sizes up the newcomers. When he demands they diagnose him on the spot, only Kildare takes up his challenge.
Later, Kildare is assigned ambulance duty with attendant Joe Wayman (Nat Pendleton). His first call is a man who has passed out in a bar. Discarding the obvious conclusion of drunkenness, Kildare suspects the man has a serious medical problem. When he has to respond to a second, more urgent call, he orders the skeptical Wayman to give the man oxygen all the way to the hospital. Wayman disregards his order and the man dies as a result. (Kildare later takes the blame rather than have Wayman lose his job.)
The doctor then attends to Barbara Chanler (Jo Ann Sayers), a young suicide victim. Despite finding no signs of life, Kildare refuses to give up and finally succeeds in reviving her. Barbara Chanler turns out to be the sole child and heiress of extremely wealthy Robert Chanler (Pierre Watkin). Highly respected psychiatrist Dr. Lane-Porteus (Monty Woolley) diagnoses schizophrenia. Kildare, based on a short conversation he had with Barbara, is sure that she was driven to attempt suicide for more ordinary reasons. When Kildare refuses to divulge what she told him in strictest confidence, however, Carew suspends him.
From a chance comment by Barbara's concerned fiance, Jack Hamilton (Truman Bradley), Kildare is able to piece the clues together. After quarreling with Hamilton, Barbara had gone to a nightclub alone, where she had started drinking heavily. A man took her upstairs to a private room, and that's all she remembers of the night. She was found by a policeman wandering the streets and taken home. Fear of what might have happened during her blackout made her try to take her own life.
When Kildare goes to Gillespie for advice, the older man broadly hints that he should ignore hospital rules. Kildare sneaks in to see Barbara to reassure her that nothing disgraceful happened. The man at the nightclub had recognized her and, fearful of what her rich father would do if he took advantage of her condition, he had simply dumped her on the street. Kildare then coaches Barbara on how to act so that Lane-Porteus does not have her confined to a mental institution.
Unaware of this development, however, the hospital board fires Kildare for insubordination. He tells his parents and Alice, who have come to see him, that he is ready to become his father's partner. However, Gillespie has other ideas. All along, he had been testing Kildare. Now he is sure of Kildare's integrity and competence, Gillespie hires the young man as his assistant, to pass along as much as possible before he dies of what Kildare had correctly diagnosed as melanoma.
- Lionel Barrymore as Dr. Leonard Gillespie
- Lew Ayres as Dr. James Kildare
- Lynne Carver as Alice Raymond
- Nat Pendleton as Joe Wayman
- Jo Ann Sayers as Barbara Chanler
- Samuel S. Hinds as Dr. Stephen Kildare
- Emma Dunn as Mrs. Martha Kildare
- Walter Kingsford as Dr. P. Walter Carew
- Truman Bradley as Jack Hamilton
- Monty Woolley as Dr. Lane-Porteus
- Pierre Watkin as Mr. Robert Chanler
- Nella Walker as Mrs. Chanler